With the resurgence of linoleum floors in the commercial marketplace, the demand for proper cleaning procedures is critical. For many years actual linoleum flooring become unpopular but now it is on the upswing. Commercial accounts that have heavy foot traffic including retail stores here there is always an extreme amount of foot traffic. So the need for knowledge is important. Linoleum as we have outlined and described in prior articles is basically a wood floor. It is wood flour, oil and binders and capped off with a protective factory finish that is very durable to foot traffic but sensitive to certain chemicals.


Cleaning chemicals like high pH strippers and floor cleaners can and will remove the protective factory finish, the cap that keeps the wood floor protected from damage. Once this is removed, it can be damaged permanently but in most cases it can be restored or at least restored to acceptable level.


The goal of this article is to provide our readers with the steps to restore the damage of the linoleum floor but it is important to understand that once this factory cap is damaged, it cannot be replaced. The good news is you can still protect the restored linoleum floor with a floor finish designed for linoleum.


If the you were more interested in linoleum floor cleaning for a residence, please click on the following link and it will take you to another article covering residential linoleum floor tile cleaning (Cleaning Linoleum Floors – Regular Cleaning – Residential).


Cleaning Linoleum Floor – Restoration Cleaning Steps Damaged Linoleum Floors


It is important to realize that with any restoration of any floor, you must try it out in a small inconspicuous area of the floor before doing the whole floor.  This is especially true with restoring damage from a high pH stripper on a linoleum floor. The reason for this precaution is so that you do not make the problem a bigger problem. So use caution, work in a small hidden area first as a test area. If it works, then you can proceed to doing the rest of the floor.


  1. Prepare solution and rinse buckets and wringer with clean, cool water and clean rinse mop. For this restoration a solution of bleach and water are mixed together. For a future step in the process a solution of white vinegar and water are mixed to neutralize the floor and a final clear water rinse is also required.
  2. Dust mop or sweep entire floor area of loose debris and remove adhered debris such as gum, candy, etc. with a putty knife.
  3. Post “Wet Floor” signs and or barricade area with CAUTION tape.
  4. Damp Mop the bleach and water solution to the damaged floor. The bleach solution should be between 20% to 50% strength. It will depend on the amount of damage.
  5. Watch the area damp mopped with the bleach solution closely to see how long it takes for the color of the floor to come back from the damage. This is a step that is critical to determine how long the solution is needed to stay on the floor. The amount of dwell time will depend on the amount of the damage there is to the floor.
  6. Once the color of the floor comes back to where you think it is close to being original or acceptable to you, damp mop on the vinegar solution which should be used at a 50% solution. This step will neutralize the bleach solution. You can also use a chemical neutralizer which most cleaning chemical companies’ manufacturer.
  7. Using the prepared, water only rinse bucket, damp rinse the entire floor. Pay particular attention to edges, borders and low spots in the floor where excess water tends to accumulate.
  8. Allow floor to dry thoroughly. 
  9. Apply Diversey’s LinoSafe Sealer or a sealer designed to be specifically used to seal linoleum, 1 to 2 coats to the restored floor.
  10. Then apply a quality floor finish to the floor such as Diversey’s Carefree Matte (Low Gloss) Finish. 2 to 3 coats of a matte floor finish should be sufficient.Note: Wet Floor signs should remain until entire process is completed and floor is completely dry.


Additional Notes: There is no guarantee that this procedure will restore the linoleum floor but the only other choice is to replace the floor which is extremely expensive. It is worth the try to restore it. If the damage is not too severe, the restoration process described above will work and the results will acceptable in most cases.


Daily cleaning should always be performed using a neutral pH floor cleaner. This will keep the restored floor looking good and will not harm the floor. There is one other precaution, since the original protective factory cap was damaged which was designed to protective this wood base floor, daily cleaning of the floor should be completed using the least amount of water and cleaner solution as possible.


Cleaning Linoleum Floor – Reference Websites

Diversey, Inc.



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